To Each Their Own Celebration–My Son Turns 21

It seems that the older I get, the more milestones there are to measure. As a child the milestones were momentous to me, but so small in the grand order of things. Walking up the street to a friend’s house, riding a bike without training wheels, going off on the big bus to Kindergarten, moving across town and going to first grade with all new classmates, going to middle school where both elementary schools combined…these were the milestones of my early childhood. After that came milestones of young adulthood: getting my braces off, getting contact lenses, starting high school, that first kiss, applying for college, and ultimately leaving home.

I’ve gone through many adult milestones too, including college graduation,  marriage, graduate school, first job, home ownership, parenthood, and even divorce. But as a mom, I find it sometimes amazing and sometimes terribly bitter-sweet to witness the milestones of my own children. They are born and then they rocket towards adulthood at an ever increasing pace. As a mom, I tried to both document their growth and live in the moment. Apparently I did more of the latter than the former, so there is little physical evidence to share. What there is, lies in my heart.

Today is my oldest child’s 21st birthday, and a  reminder to me about how each of us celebrates in their own way. He wanted to be home for his birthday and he wanted to go out to eat. Given that my younger daughter had a softball playoff game until after 8, dinner would be quite late. While my older daughter and I were at work, my younger daughter baked a cake. It’s now her signature dish, a Guinness cake. She’s made several and this took the last can from the pack I bought at the beginning of the year when she started making them. Her brother had apparently had the penultimate one on the ultimate evening of being technically too young to drink it.

At the restaurant, the waiter asked us what we’d all like to drink and he eschewed having a beer because that was what was expected and he’s all about being an individual who decides for himself whether it matters or not if he has a beer on his birthday and then says no to spite what was expected. Other aspects of a typical birthday celebration were too ingrained in tradition. The cake was duly adorned with a “2” and a “1” candles and lit. We sang him the Birthday Song, and he made a wish and blew out the candles. He happily ate cake and opened presents to round out the event.

More milestones await, as early as next week when my younger daughter gets her braces off.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy in seeing your children grow up to the beat of their own drum!




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